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The Best Land Under Heaven: The Donner Party in the Age of Manifest Destiny (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews


THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD. Ok, yes, it's about the Donner Party and it does have cannibalism, but this isn't some gruesome expose. It's a thoughtful, detailed, engrossing, and totally fascinating look at Westward expansion, life on the trail, and California history. I didn't want to stop reading it and can't stop talking about it.

— Flannery

We all know the story of the Donner party, or at least, we all know how it ends. Despite the fact that I knew what lay ahead, I found myself on the edge of my seat as I read about the party’s journey across the plains. Thanks to thorough research and engaging writing, Wallis has managed to tell this with greater accuracy and humanity than ever before. Fascinating, gruesome, and gut wrenching, this book is not for the faint of heart.

— Jade

Description


Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence

Finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award

A Publishers Weekly Holiday Guide History Pick


“A book so gripping it can scarcely be put down.... Superb.” —New York Times Book Review


"WESTWARD HO! FOR OREGON AND CALIFORNIA!"


In the eerily warm spring of 1846, George Donner placed this advertisement in a local newspaper as he and a restless caravan prepared for what they hoped would be the most rewarding journey of a lifetime. But in eagerly pursuing what would a century later become known as the "American dream," this optimistic-yet-motley crew of emigrants was met with a chilling nightmare; in the following months, their jingoistic excitement would be replaced by desperate cries for help that would fall silent in the deadly snow-covered mountains of the Sierra Nevada.


We know these early pioneers as the Donner Party, a name that has elicited horror since the late 1840s. With The Best Land Under Heaven, Wallis has penned what critics agree is “destined to become the standard account” (Washington Post) of the notorious saga. Cutting through 160 years of myth-making, the “expert storyteller” (True West) compellingly recounts how the unlikely band of early pioneers met their fate. Interweaving information from hundreds of newly uncovered documents, Wallis illuminates how a combination of greed and recklessness led to one of America’s most calamitous and sensationalized catastrophes. The result is a “fascinating, horrifying, and inspiring” (Oklahoman) examination of the darkest side of Manifest Destiny.



About the Author


Michael Wallis, the best-selling author of Route 66 and Billy the Kid, has published eighteen books and won numerous honors and awards. He is a popular public speaker and a highly acclaimed voice actor. He lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.


Product Details
ISBN: 9781631494000
ISBN-10: 1631494007
Publisher: Liveright
Publication Date: May 29th, 2018
Pages: 496
Language: English
ABA Admin Product Details
Data Source: ONIX
Created At: 9/23/2017 06:59pm
Last Updated At: 10/24/2020 02:14pm